When it comes to nutrient-rich produce, spinach is tops. We all know, thanks to Popeye, that spinach is associated with strength. But spinach also offers more health benefits that make this vegetable a must-have for your grocery list. Spinach is rich in minerals and vitamins and health-promoting phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, as well as flavonoids. Researchers have identified more than a dozen different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. And spinach has been associated with decreased risk of several blood vessel-related problems, including atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. Spinach also provides bone health through its high level of vitamin K.
When buying spinach, look for spinach with bright green leaves that are fresh and tender. If the spinach leaves are bruised, slimy, or wilting, pass. Because exposure to water encourages spoiling, we recommend not washing spinach until you’re ready to cook. Store spinach in a plastic bag, squeezing out as much of the air that you can and then wrap the bag around the spinach. Place spinach in the refrigerator and use within 5 days.
Whether you enjoy fresh spinach in salads, sauteed in a little bit of olive oil with garlic, in omelets, or in sandwiches, this vegetable helps you maintain your health.